I’ve been finding the computer activities in Block 2 Unit 2 quite tricky, to the extent that I was beginning to think I’d missed one of the introductory exercises in the Software Guide! Unfortunately I hadn’t missed any, so something must have gone awry with my understanding of how the search algorithms have been implemented in these activities.

I don’t think it’s the NetLogo code itself that’s my problem, I think it’s the details of these particular route-finding programs; oddly, I had no trouble doing the beam-search code in Ex 2.5, but the solution for the previous activities (the depth-limit and iterative-deepening ones) completely eluded me. I’ll probably need to go back through the code for Ex 2.3-2.9, along with the NetLogo user manual, until I can make sense of it. (I guess I know what I’m doing this weekend!)

Nevertheless, I’m enjoying Block 2 a lot more than Block 1, particularly the discussion of various different search algorithms and their advantages/disadvantages. I’m particularly happy to be learning about search trees and tree traversal again, since the Binary Trees unit was one of my favourite parts of M263 (although I liked the bit involving parse trees even more).

Hopefully I’ll be able to get this section finished by the end of this weekend, and then it’s on to the bit about adversarial search and games. I don’t know much about the topic, but it sounds interesting, especially if we’ll be looking at problems where two agents have to react to each others’ moves – and in any case, it’ll certainly be nice to have a break from all the “find the shortest route from Exeter to Norwich/Lincoln/Shrewsbury” problems…

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